Health Care Innovation Awards: Project Profile

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

Project Title: "Deep South Cancer Navigation Network (DSCNN)"
Geographic Reach: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee
Funding Amount: $15,007,263
Estimated 3-Year Savings: $49,815,239

Summary

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center received an award extending a regional network of lay health workers to expand comprehensive cancer care support services through a five state region. Working through the participating UAB Health System Cancer Community Network associate sites, the program seeks to create a national model for improving the quality of cancer care while decreasing unnecessary hospital utilization and enhancing patient satisfaction.

The program, named “Patient Care Connect,” is designed to serve Medicare beneficiaries with complex or advanced stage cancers, including those with psycho-social barriers to appropriate care, many living in medically underserved inner city and rural communities. Each navigation team will include an RN site manager and specially trained non-clinical patient navigators. The navigation teams will focus on helping patients by providing information about their cancer treatment, empowering patients to make informed choices about their care, providing emotional support and problem-solving, assisting with overcoming common barriers to cancer treatment, and helping patients make wise use of healthcare resources.

It is expected that the program will result in a reduction in emergency room visits and unnecessary hospital utilization, earlier acceptance of palliative and hospice services, better adherence to evidence based care plans, and an improved overall quality of life for cancer patients.

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